July 27, 2019

Circus Maximus: Economics as entertainment, personality gossip, virtue signaling, and lifestyle promotion

Comment on Michael Roberts on ‘The world’s scariest economist?’*

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

A closer look at the history of economic thought reveals that there are TWO economixes: political economics and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, the goal of theoretical economics is to successfully explain how the actual economy works. (ii) In political economics anything goes; in theoretical economics, the scientific standards of material and formal consistency are observed.

The historical fact is that theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years: Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent. Political economists are NOT scientists but clowns/useful idiots in the political Circus Maximus.

Economics claims to be science and, consequently, the economist has to uphold scientific standards. Scientific standards are well-defined since antiquity: “Research is, in fact, a continuous discussion of the consistency of theories: formal consistency insofar as the discussion relates to the logical cohesion of what is asserted in joint theories; material consistency insofar as the agreement of observations with theories is concerned.” (Klant)

However, since Adam Smith, the primary task of economists is to deliver some scientifically looking justification for already decided upon policies. Last time it was Friedrich Hayek who acted as a useful academic idiot for Prime Minister Thatcher/President Reagan and the advancement of neoliberalism. Lately, things have changed.

Rockefeller called the university the best investment he ever made. The habit of billionaires to prioritize economics among the sciences for sponsoring (remember that Marx was sponsored by Engels) continues since then. Well-known examples of founding/funding are institutions like the London School of Economics, the Cowles Commission, or the University of Chicago. This, though, is only the historical tip of the iceberg.

Economics is failed science but economists have made a good job as propagandists.#1, #2, #3, #4, #5 As Keynes quipped: “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” Note well that it is a matter of utter indifference whether an economist identifies himself as left/center/right. These are only labels for addressing different target groups.#6

It seems that economists have been given a new communication strategy which roughly runs as follows: science ⇓ entertainment ⇑, theory ⇓ narrative/storytelling ⇑, solution-oriented debate ⇓ jolly game show ⇑, promotion of knowledge ⇓ agenda-pushing/ disinformation ⇑, objective authority ⇓ subjective empathy ⇑, clarity/precision/ consistency ⇓ swampiness/anything-goes ⇑, logical analysis ⇓ emotional moralizing ⇑, globalism ⇓ nationalism ⇑, towards the true theory ⇓ towards the pluralism of provably false theories ⇑.

Some pictorial examples (Source Twitter):

Note that the above-mentioned economists have NO idea about what profit ― the foundational concept of economics ― is and how the monetary economy works. They lack sound scientific foundations yet dole out economic policy advice.

Economists have always been a hazard to their fellow citizens.#7 For more about econogenics see AXECquery.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Michael Roberts Blog
#1 If religion is opium of the people, economics is crack of the people
#2 Economics as storytelling and entertainment for the masses
#3 Scientists and science actors
#4 How to spot economics trolls
#5 The economist as storyteller
#6 Mission impossible: economists join WeThePeople
#7 Econogenics in action

Related 'Economics debate ― just another variant of hardcore wrestling' and 'Economics: A pointless left-right wrestling show' and 'Economic policy and the skirmishes of failed/fake scientists' and 'Economists’ silly kindergarten games' and 'Economics between cargo cult, farce, and fraud' and 'If religion is opium of the people, economics is crack of the people' and 'As Napoleon said: don’t listen to economists' and 'Urgent: Taking politics out of economics' and 'There is NO such thing as “smart, honest, honorable economists” and 'Entertainment vs. Science' and 'And the answer is NCND ― economics after 200+ years of Glomarization' and 'Economics and the weapons of mass distraction' and 'Economics as fool’s paradise' and 'Unemployment is the outcome of political economics' and 'You know you are in the political Circus Maximus when economists talk about Democracy/Liberty/ Freedom' and 'Delusions of useful idiots' and 'Economics ― nothing but claptrap, twaddle, drivel, slip-slop, wish-wash, waffle, and proto-scientific garbage' and 'The economist as second-guesser, mind reader, and folk psychologist' and 'A battle for hearts and minds ― economics redefined' and 'Economists: scientists or political clowns?' and 'Economics ― from attention and reputation  management to science' and 'Baillie Gifford' and 'Economics: communication without content' and 'Economic policy advice has never had sound scientific foundations' and 'Economic narratives are for the scientific garbage dump' and 'Scrap the EconNobel' and 'Your economics is refuted on all counts: here is the real thing'.

Jul 29

See also
Twitter Jan 19, 2023 The futile attempt to recycle Adam Smith (XVII)